Who is a "whistleblower"?
A whistleblower is someone who discloses, or tries to disclose, information that may show the misuse of City funds, improper activities by City officers or employees, deficiencies in the quality and delivery of government services, and wasteful and inefficient City government practices.
What other avenues of redress are available to me to resolve my complaints?
There are a multitude of resources available to you, depending upon the subject matter. You are encouraged to review our "Where to File a Complaint
" page to find answers, resources, and assistance information that may expeditiously point you in the correct direction.
Who can file a Whistleblower Complaint? Can a citizen file a complaint and be protected from retaliation by City employees?
The Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code (Code) Section 4.100 encourages individuals to report possible violations of laws, regulations and rules governing the conduct of City officers and employees.
Code Section 4.115 provides whistleblower protection for any city officer or employee who believes he or she has been the subject of retaliation. Complaints alleging retaliation should be filed with the Ethics Commission. Citizens who are not City employees cannot seek protection under this Code, but are encouraged to let the proper authorities know if believe a City code has been violated.
What's the difference between the Controller's complaints program and the Ethics Commission's complaints program?
The Ethics Commission handles complaints related to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbyists, campaign consultants, and other governmental ethics issues. Complaints regarding these issues may be reported on the Ethics Commission website by clicking here
I am about to be fired, reprimanded, discharged, dismissed, or sentenced. Can you stop this?
A complaint lodged with the Whistleblower Program will not stop any impending action against you.
When there is an established personnel, management, or appeal process, you are encouraged to contact your respective Human Resources personnel or union representative for guidance concerning available options which may address your situation.
Can I file my complaint anonymously?
Yes. If you choose to be anonymous and file a complaint via this website or 311, you will be issued a unique tracking number that will enable you to follow the actions taken on your complaint. No information will be shared without the tracking number. If you choose to leave your name, telephone number or email address, staff may contact you with questions about your complaint.
If I provide my information, will my name be kept secret?
Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible within the limitations of law and policy and the legitimate needs of the investigation. Your identity will be known to the Whistleblower Program investigators. Release of your identity may be required pursuant to a subpoena or in other circumstances where the Whistleblower Program is required by law to release information.
The Program may also request your written consent to release your name in the event the investigation requires the disclosure of such information to pursue the complaint.
What information should I provide when I make my disclosure?
You should state the facts with as much specific information as possible so that your allegations can be investigated, such as what occurred, who was involved, and dates of occurrence. Your complaint should not speculate or draw conclusions.
You should provide as much factual information and evidence as possible in order to allow the investigation to proceed. However, do not obtain any evidence for which you do not have a right of access. You should be prepared to be interviewed by the investigators and provide all the information you know about the allegations.
Any evidence you would like to provide to the Whistleblower Program can be submitted via email or in-person. If you choose to submit evidence in hard copy directly to the Program, you can use the postal mail address below:
City & County of San Francisco
Office of the Controller City Hall Room 316
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102-4694
Is there a deadline for filing a whistleblower report?
No, but it is important to file a report as soon as you have enough evidence to make a good faith report. If you delay filing, evidence may become stale, hampering the investigation; as a result the Whistleblower Program may not be able to resolve the problem.
What happens after I file my whistleblower report?
A preliminary review to determine the jurisdiction of the complaint will be conducted. You may be contacted for an interview and for clarification of the allegations.
How long does it take for a complaint to be processed?
Not all complaints warrant an investigation. For those that are investigated, the times can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the issues involved. Your patience is appreciated during this process.
Why might my allegations not be investigated?
Sometimes people blow the whistle about things that are not improper governmental activities. The preliminary investigation assesses whether or not there appears to be an improper governmental activity and what jurisdiction is charged with investigating the allegations.
Can I check on the status of my complaint?
You may access the status of your complaint on the Web by using the tracking number provided you when you file your complaint.
If your complaint is open and being handled as an inquiry, while the matter is ongoing, we can only tell you the case is in open status.
Will I be informed of the outcome of my report?
You may access the status
of your complaint on the Web by using the tracking number provided you when you file your complaint. Only minimal information regarding complaint activity will be given. Additionally, any action taken against an employee as a consequence of the findings of the investigation is personal and confidential and cannot be disclosed.
If I do not agree with the outcome, can I appeal the results?
The outcome of the Whistleblower Program's findings cannot be appealed. However, complainants may continue to correspond with investigators with any new and relevant evidence that may affect the outcome of the investigation.
If, on the other hand, you are merely unhappy because you do not agree with the outcome, the Whistleblower Program will not conduct another investigation.
Can I discuss the matter with friends and colleagues?
To protect your confidentiality and the confidentiality of the investigation, it is advisable not to discuss the matter with friends and colleagues.
Can I Sunshine your investigation work product?
No. Per Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 4.123(a)(ii),every officer and employee of the City shall keep confidential complaints or reports to the Whistleblower Program and information related to the investigation of the matter, including drafts, notes, preliminary reports, working papers, records of interviews, communications with complainants and witnesses, and any other materials and information gathered or prepared in the course of the investigation.
The protection of confidentiality set forth in this Section applies irrespective of whether the information was provided in writing and whether the information was provided or is maintained in electronic, digital, paper or any other form or medium.
Am I eligible to receive a reward if my whistleblower complaint is sustained?
No. The City and County of San Francisco does not offer a reward for sustained whistleblower complaints.